BET Taps Scott M. Mills as New President, Debra Lee Set to Stay on as Chairman and CEO

BET has named Scott M. Mills as the network’s new president. Current president Debra L. Lee will stay on as chairman and CEO, the Viacom-owned asset announced Thursday.

Mills will take on day-to-day tasks and strategy at BET starting Jan. 1, 2018, with Lee set to focus on relationships with their external stakeholders and communities. Michael Armstrong will remain general manager and report to Mills.

“Today, BET is thriving as the #1 network for African American audiences, and we continue to see strong growth in ratings, share and social engagement,” Lee says. “I have spent more than 20 years leading this incredible enterprise and I am so proud of the BET team and all that we have accomplished. As I look to the future, I believe it is the right time to take a step back from day-to-day responsibilities at BET. I look forward to working closely with Scott, Michael, our many talented people – and very importantly, BET’s communities and external stakeholders.”

Also Read: BET’s ‘The Quad’ Gets January Return, Season 2 Guest Stars Revealed (Exclusive)

Mills currently serves as executive vice president and chief administrative officer at Viacom, overseeing human resources, real estate and facilities and security. Mills previously held the position of president and chief operating officer for BET Networks, where he launched what is now BET Her.

BET has consistently produced exciting, thought-provoking content, shaping culture and conversation with African Americans and young audiences around the world,” Mills says. “I am honored to work alongside Debi, Michael and the incredible team at BET as we accelerate the network’s evolution across film, digital and live experiences.”

President and CEO of Viacom, Bob Bakish, praised Lee’s work building BET into a “truly global entertainment powerhouse” and “bringing this dominant African American brand to more than 60 countries and 125 million households.”

Also Read: Michael D Armstrong Named BET Networks General Manager in Newly Created Role

“Her vision and leadership, unmatched intuition for what audiences want, and ability to attract and foster top talent – both behind and in front of the camera – have been pivotal to this success,” Bakish says. “We’re grateful that we will continue to benefit from Debi’s experience and insights.”

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BET Networks Names Stephen Hill President of Programming

BET has named Scott M. Mills as the network’s new president. Current president Debra L. Lee will stay on as chairman and CEO, the Viacom-owned asset announced Thursday.

Mills will take on day-to-day tasks and strategy at BET starting Jan. 1, 2018, with Lee set to focus on relationships with their external stakeholders and communities. Michael Armstrong will remain general manager and report to Mills.

“Today, BET is thriving as the #1 network for African American audiences, and we continue to see strong growth in ratings, share and social engagement,” Lee says. “I have spent more than 20 years leading this incredible enterprise and I am so proud of the BET team and all that we have accomplished. As I look to the future, I believe it is the right time to take a step back from day-to-day responsibilities at BET. I look forward to working closely with Scott, Michael, our many talented people – and very importantly, BET’s communities and external stakeholders.”

Mills currently serves as executive vice president and chief administrative officer at Viacom, overseeing human resources, real estate and facilities and security. Mills previously held the position of president and chief operating officer for BET Networks, where he launched what is now BET Her.

BET has consistently produced exciting, thought-provoking content, shaping culture and conversation with African Americans and young audiences around the world,” Mills says. “I am honored to work alongside Debi, Michael and the incredible team at BET as we accelerate the network’s evolution across film, digital and live experiences.”

President and CEO of Viacom, Bob Bakish, praised Lee’s work building BET into a “truly global entertainment powerhouse” and “bringing this dominant African American brand to more than 60 countries and 125 million households.”

“Her vision and leadership, unmatched intuition for what audiences want, and ability to attract and foster top talent – both behind and in front of the camera – have been pivotal to this success,” Bakish says. “We’re grateful that we will continue to benefit from Debi’s experience and insights.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Michael D Armstrong Named BET Networks General Manager in Newly Created Role

BET Networks Buys 'Soul Train'

BET Networks Names Former VH1 Exec Maureen Guthman SVP of Programming and Acquisitions

BET Networks Names Stephen Hill President of Programming

BET Networks Names Scott Mills New President; Debra Lee Remains Chairman And CEO

BET Networks has named Viacom executive and former BET boss Scott M. Mills as president, a role in which he will oversee overall strategy and day-to-day operations of BET Networks including oversight of the brand’s programming, ad sales and digital teams. Debra Lee will continue in her chairman and CEO role but is stepping back from running the network, and will serve as an advisor to Mills.
Michael Armstrong will continue in his position as GM, and as part of the…

BET Networks has named Viacom executive and former BET boss Scott M. Mills as president, a role in which he will oversee overall strategy and day-to-day operations of BET Networks including oversight of the brand's programming, ad sales and digital teams. Debra Lee will continue in her chairman and CEO role but is stepping back from running the network, and will serve as an advisor to Mills. Michael Armstrong will continue in his position as GM, and as part of the…

Michael D Armstrong Named BET Networks General Manager in Newly Created Role

BET Networks has named Michael D. Armstrong to general manager in a newly created position, it was announced on Thursday.

In the new role Armstrong will oversee content strategy and multiplatform scheduling, marketing, corporate communications and operations. He will being in the new role next month, reporting directly to BET Networks Chairman and CEO Debra Lee.

Armstrong most recently served as EVP and general manager of revenue & emerging brands for Viacom International Media Networks. He first joined Viacom in 1998 and held a variety sales and affiliate marketing roles for brands including MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and CMT.

Also Read: BET Shakeup as Top Executives Exit

The company has also elevated Jeanine Liburd to chief marketing & communications officer, another new position. She will oversee all facets of strategic and creative brand development, consumer marketing and cross-business initiatives.

Donna Blackman has also been upped to senior vice president of business operations, where she will serve as the liaison for all internal BET Networks departments with Viacom Media Networks shared services. Blackman and Liburd will both report to Armstrong.

Also Read: BET Awards 2017: Complete Winners List, From Beyonce to Chance the Rapper

“Today’s announcement outlines key changes to our operating structure that further solidify our position as a thriving global brand,” Lee said in a statement. “Michael exemplifies the values of strong, dynamic leadership – and his vast knowledge of our industry and how our audiences connect with content is unmatched. Known for their passion for our business and their strong experience in the industry, Jeanine and Donna have a proven track record of developing dynamic strategies that have accelerated growth, elevated brand awareness for BET and engaged consumers worldwide. These appointments will strengthen our ability to drive growth in ratings and digital metrics, achieve strategic goals and deliver strong financial performance.”

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BET Networks has named Michael D. Armstrong to general manager in a newly created position, it was announced on Thursday.

In the new role Armstrong will oversee content strategy and multiplatform scheduling, marketing, corporate communications and operations. He will being in the new role next month, reporting directly to BET Networks Chairman and CEO Debra Lee.

Armstrong most recently served as EVP and general manager of revenue & emerging brands for Viacom International Media Networks. He first joined Viacom in 1998 and held a variety sales and affiliate marketing roles for brands including MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and CMT.

The company has also elevated Jeanine Liburd to chief marketing & communications officer, another new position. She will oversee all facets of strategic and creative brand development, consumer marketing and cross-business initiatives.

Donna Blackman has also been upped to senior vice president of business operations, where she will serve as the liaison for all internal BET Networks departments with Viacom Media Networks shared services. Blackman and Liburd will both report to Armstrong.

“Today’s announcement outlines key changes to our operating structure that further solidify our position as a thriving global brand,” Lee said in a statement. “Michael exemplifies the values of strong, dynamic leadership – and his vast knowledge of our industry and how our audiences connect with content is unmatched. Known for their passion for our business and their strong experience in the industry, Jeanine and Donna have a proven track record of developing dynamic strategies that have accelerated growth, elevated brand awareness for BET and engaged consumers worldwide. These appointments will strengthen our ability to drive growth in ratings and digital metrics, achieve strategic goals and deliver strong financial performance.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

BET Awards 2017: Complete Winners List, From Beyonce to Chance the Rapper

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BET Shuts Down DC Office, Relocates Headquarters to New York

BET Revives VH1’s ‘Hit the Floor,’ Takes ‘The Breaks’ From Fellow Viacom Net

BET has unveiled its new and returning slate for the 2017-2018 TV season, which includes news seasons of “Hit the Floor” (pictured above), “The Breaks” and “The Quad.” Oh yeah, those first two are coming over from fellow Viacom network, VH1.

Additionally, the cable channel has ordered new biopics/miniseries centered on Bobby Brown and Death Row Records, per Thursday’s upfront presentation. BET is also bolstering its comedy and late-night lineup, including new series executive produced by Kevin Hart (“Divorce Saved My Life”), Chris Rock (The Rundown With Robin Thede”), Wanda Sykes (“Face Value”), Steve Harvey (“BET’s Mancave”) and 50 Cent (“50 Central”). And then there’s blind date series “Love Room,” which sees two “sexy strangers” living together for a week. That ought to go completely smooth.

Finally, BET is adding a pair of “Lip Sync Battle” specials to its tentpole event lineup.

Also Read: BET’s Original Programming Chief Fired Despite Being on Medical Leave With Breast Cancer

In addition to all of this programming BET has joined forces with Twitter to analyze the impact and importance of “Black Twitter.” Per BET’s summation, “Black Twitter” is a “digital water cooler, where African Americans exchange ideas and opinions that are centered on the black experience, all dialogue is unapologetically black and is exclusive to things that impact the black community.”

Here’s what they found: “Early data continues to support a strong correlation between tweeting and watching live TV at home via traditional delivery methods. People on Twitter see TV as a social opportunity and source of information for what’s happening, best enjoyed live and viewed with others on Twitter.”

BET will be creating a model to help predict future trends in “Black Twitter” as they emerge.

Also Read: BET Shakeup as Top Executives Exit

“Over the last 37 years, BET has cultivated a deep and lasting relationship with our viewers, as we remain the premiere destination for lovers of African American culture. This year, we are saying yes to all things black, with more premium original programming and best-in-class tentpoles that reflect and invigorate our viewers,” said Debra Lee, chairman and CEO, BET Networks. “BET’s global influence is stronger than ever and we are continuing to expand beyond the television screen to impact our audience — and the world — across multiple platforms.”

Here is BET’s new and returning slate, all in the Viacom cable channel’s own words:

New Comedy and Late-Night Programming

  • DIVORCE SAVED MY MARRIAGE – From Executive Producer Kevin Hart comes “DIVORCE SAVED MY MARRIAGE,” a new 30-minute scripted dramedy, based on the stand up of David A. Arnold, that turns relationships and marriage inside out.  When a couple realizes that divorce is the only thing they can agree on, their attorney recommends a financial plan instead of a court date – forcing them to work together so they can finally afford to be apart.  “DIVORCE SAVED MY MARRIAGE” is executive produced and created by Devon K. Shepard and David A. Arnold, with Kevin Hart and Dave Becky serving as Executive Producers.

FORMAT: 30-minute Scripted Comedy

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 10

Also Read: Dan Fierman Out as MTV News Editorial Director

  • THE RUNDOWN WITH ROBIN THEDE – BET joins forces with Executive Producer Chris Rock to bring the African American female voice to late night news satire: “THE RUNDOWN WITH ROBIN THEDE.”  Comedian and former head writer and contributor for “The Nightly Show,” Robin Thede, gives her hilariously unique take on the week’s headlines in politics and pop culture in a fast-paced, no-holds-barred late night show featuring biting social commentary, sharp sketch comedy and in-your-face pop culture parody. From the team behind “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” “THE RUNDOWN WITH ROBIN THEDE” is produced by JAX MEDIA with Chris Rock and Robin Thede serving as Executive Producers.  Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns, John Skidmore and Genevieve Anniello also executive produce.

FORMAT: 30-minute Late Night Comedy

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 24

Also Read: Viacom Boss Bob Bakish Bemoans Paramount Not Having Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’

  • BET’s MANCAVE – Executive Producer Steve Harvey and BET are opening the door to “BET’s MANCAVE” – a no-holds-barred conversation among five men brave enough to be honest and vulnerable, as they laugh it up and get serious about hot-button topics. Hosted by award-winning journalist Jeff Johnson – and featuring actors, athletes, and comedians, among others – this topical weekly event series brings together African American men with wildly diverse opinions to dissect current hot topics in entertainment, politics, news and beyond.  Through humor, genuine emotion and heated debate, the panel will discuss their own opinions and experiences, while revealing what it’s really like to navigate the world as an African American man. With unfiltered honesty, “BET’s MANCAVE” is the ultimate ‘bro-out’ session that reflects how complex men’s thoughts actually are.  “BET’s MANCAVE” is created by Jeff Johnson and produced by Truly Original and East 112th Street Productions. Johnson serves as Executive Producer, alongside Truly Original’s Steven Weinstock, Glenda Hersh and Bryan Hale. Steve Harvey and Gerald Washington also serve as Executive Producers for 112th Street Productions.

FORMAT: 30-minute Late Night Comedy

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 12

Also Read: Inside Paramount’s Shakeup: Why Brad Grey Is Out, and Who Could Replace Him

  • FACE VALUE – From Push It Productions and Executive Producer, Wanda Sykes, “FACE VALUE” is a groundbreaking new game show that will finally answer the age-old question, “Can you judge a book by its cover?”  The veteran actress, comedienne and LGBT advocate knows what it’s like to be prejudged, so this series is flipping the script to award cash and prizes for correctly guessing facts about strangers from all walks of life – based solely on their appearance and a few personal details.  Hosted by Deon Cole (“black-ish,”Barbershop), “FACE VALUE” will humorously break down stereotypes, expose prejudices, and celebrate the human spirit by highlighting the commonalities and differences among people of various backgrounds, races, religions, beliefs and life experiences.  Push It Productions’ Wanda Sykes and Page Hurwitz serve as Executive Producers along with Lance Crouther.

FORMAT: 30-minute Late Night Comedy

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 24

Also Read: Spike Rebrand to Include ‘Significant’ Number of Scripted Shows

  • 50 CENTRAL – Award-winning rapper, entrepreneur, actor and producer, the iconic Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, storms BET’s airwaves to take variety and sketch comedy to the next level with “50 CENTRAL.” BET’s first variety comedy showcase will be unlike anything seen from the genre before.  Along with unprecedented sketches, there will be hidden camera pranks, musical performances, and A-list celebrity guests to create the ultimate late night party – all handpicked and hosted by 50 Cent.  Few artists have had as much crossover success as Jackson and he showcases his talents as an MC, actor and producer for a fresh take on the variety series.  “50 CENTRAL” is produced by G-Unit Film & Television in partnership with Back Roads Entertainment with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Stephen J. Savva, Colby Gaines and Riley Robbins serving as Executive Producers and Michael A. Blum serving as Co-Executive Producer.

FORMAT: 30-minute Late Night Variety

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 24

Also Read: Here’s Viacom’s New 5-Point Strategic Plan: 6 Brands, ‘Deeper Integration of Paramount’

  • LOVE ROOM – “LOVE ROOM” is a daring social experiment that brings together individuals who have almost given up on finding a relationship and falling in love.  Much more than a single date, two sexy, single strangers will meet and live together for a week to see if a relationship blossoms.  Having struck out with blind dates and dating apps, the couples will work through challenges that test their resolve and compatibility.  This “full immersion” relationship will accelerate the dating process, challenging the couple to reveal their deepest secrets, face their own insecurities, overcome their fears and set aside their baggage to find true love.  “LOVE ROOM” is produced by Eastern, producers of the hit “Love & Hip Hop” franchise. Toby Barraud, Stefan Springman, Mala Chapple, Carmen Mitcho and Sean David Johnson are Executive Producers for Eastern.

FORMAT: 60-minute Unscripted

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 10

Also Read: ‘Scandal’ Hires ‘Hit the Floor’ Alum McKinley Freeman for Guest Role (Exclusive)

Miniseries

  • THE BOBBY BROWN STORY – From the team behind BET’s smash hit, “The New Edition Story” – the #1 cable biopic of all time – comes another epic mini-series event: “THE BOBBY BROWN STORY.”  With a career that spans from founding the R&B super group New Edition to a successful solo run, Bobby Brown‘s life truly epitomizes the meaning of sex, drugs, and rock & roll.  Hailed as the King of R&B, Bobby Brown is undisputedly one of the genre’s original “bad boys.” His hits may have kept him at the top of the charts, but his antics kept him on the front page. Written by Abdul Williams (“The New Edition Story,” Lottery Ticket), “THE BOBBY BROWN STORY” is executive produced by Jesse Collins (“The New Edition Story,” “Real Husbands of Hollywood”) for JCE Films, a division of Jesse Collins Entertainment.

FORMAT: 4-Hour Biopic Mini-series

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 2 Nights, 2-Hours per Night

Also Read: ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Renewed for Season 10 on VH1

  • DEATH ROW CHRONICLES – The story of the world’s most dangerous record label could only be told in a definitive 6-part documentary series: “DEATH ROW CHRONICLES.” While Death Row Records boasted the success of Snoop Dogg, 2Pac, and Dr. Dre forged by unmatched creativity, the chart-topping and record-breaking sales came at a bloody, controversial cost.  Part true-crime murder mystery and part hip hop drama, this compelling docu-series will comb through mountains of misinformation, uncovering key evidence and witnesses who will reveal the truth about the bitter rivalries surrounding its legends.  The limited series will also celebrate the groundbreaking music of Death Row, explain how it reflected society at the time, and how it influenced some of today’s biggest hip hop artists.  On the eve of the label’s 25th anniversary, “DEATH ROW CHRONICLES” offers an unflinching look at the label and its legacy.  “DEATH ROW CHRONICLES” is produced by Entertainment One (eOne) and Creature Films.

FORMAT: 60-minute Documentary Series

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 6

Also Read: Tyra Banks Is Back in as Host of ‘America’s Next Top Model’

Returning Original Series

  • THE QUAD – As Wednesday’s #1 New Cable Series among African American millennials (AA P18-34), the riveting, true-to-life drama about HBCU culture and relationships is back for another season of passion and controversy. Georgia A&M President Dr. Eva Fletcher continues to navigate her relationships, career and serve the student body. For faculty and students alike, one similarity remains: everyone plans to make a name for themselves on “THE QUAD.”  Starring multi-talented Anika Noni Rose, “THE QUAD” is created and executive produced by Felicia Henderson and Charles Holland, and developed by Rob Hardy who also serves as Executive Producer.  Mitzi Miller serves as Co-Executive Producer.

FORMAT: 60-minute Scripted Drama

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 10

Also Read: Black Twitter Split Over Muslim Teen Using #BlackLivesMatter to Get Into Stanford

  • THE BREAKS – Shot on the streets of New York, “THE BREAKS” is a gritty, authentic take on the origins of hip hop through the journey of three young friends exploring the industry in 1990 New York City.  “THE BREAKS” is inspired by Dan Charnas’ critically acclaimed book The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop, an epic, 40-year narrative of the executives, entrepreneurs, hustlers and handlers who turned rap music into the world’s predominant pop culture.  Original cast members included:  Afton Willamson (HBO’s “The Night Of…”), Wood Harris (“The Wire”), Mack Wilds (“The Wire”), Antoine Harris (“Ballers”), David Call (“The Magicians”), Evan Handler (“Sex and the City”), Melonie Diaz (“Fruitvale Station”), Sinqua Walls (“Power”), Ali Ahn (“Billions”) and Gloria Reuben (“Mr. Robot”).

FORMAT: 60-minute Drama

Also Read: Black Twitter Slams Trump Press Conference: ‘This Can’t Be Real Life’

  • HIT THE FLOOR – Just when you thought it was over, sizzling new episodes of original series, “HIT THE FLOOR”, are back to steam up TV screens for a brand new season on BET Networks.  The premier professional dance squad for the Los Angeles Devils basketball team, the Devil Girls, returns with more scandal, sex, secrets, intrigue and jaw-dropping dance routines, that captured audience’s hearts.  “HIT THE FLOOR” was created by James LaRosa.

FORMAT: 60-minute Drama

Also Read: Trump Asks Black Reporter About Congressional Black Caucus: ‘Are They Friends of Yours?’ (Video)

Specials

  • “LIP SYNC BATTLE” SPECIAL EDITIONS – Multiplatform global pop culture juggernaut, “LIP SYNC BATTLE” is blowing up with two 1-hour specials made exclusively for BET.  Featuring the same cast, LL COOL J and Chrissy Teigen, but touting the BET brand, each one hour special will be tailored to a tentpole event – “BET HIP HOP AWARDS” and “SOUL TRAIN AWARDS” – which will drive the songs that the celebrities perform.  The special editions will be taped in September in Los Angeles.  The expansion of “LIP SYNC BATTLE” to BET taps into the overall plan to leverage multiple platforms for Viacom’s most successful properties.

FORMAT: Two 1-hour Specials

Also Read: NBCU Boss Steve Burke Appeals to Hollywood: ‘Strikes Aren’t Good for Anybody’

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 2 Editions – “BET HIP HOP AWARDS,” “SOUL TRAIN AWARDS”

  • BET AWARDS – Moving into its eighteenth year, The “BET AWARDS” franchise is the #1 program in cable television history among African American viewers, and a top 10 awards show on television among total viewers.  This magical night of musical collaborations and jaw-dropping moments consistently delivers high ratings, millions of social media impressions and buzz before, during and after the star-studded live telecast. Last year was a celebration of Prince and his music featuring Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar, Janelle Monae, and more.  Anything can – and always does – happen at BET’s signature live awards event.

Also Read: Black-Owned Hair Care Company Apologizes for Ad With White Woman: ‘We Really F-ed This One Up’

  • BET EXPERIENCE – Returning for its sixth year, BET Experience at L.A. LIVE presented by Coca-Cola® is four-day event showcasing the best in music, comedy, and entertainment. The immersive experience continues to grow each year, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors to the downtown Los Angeles area.  The BET Experience at L.A. LIVE presented by Coca-Cola® includes a series of interactive events such as a free Fan Fest, live music, Sprite Celebrity Basketball Game, and Genius Talks with A-list talent; as well as a partnership between BET Networks and AEG to bring a star-studded electrifying concert series to the L.A. Live complex.

Also Read: Third Black Employee Joins Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against Fox News

  • BET HIP HOP AWARDS – The “BET HIP HOP AWARDS” returns to highlight the best of the year in hip-hop music, with bold performances and breakthrough freestyle cyphers.  This seminal award show singularly celebrates hip-hop and sets social media on fire with the click of a hashtag, placing it among the most social award shows all year. The “BET HIP HOP AWARDS” is the one show where the hottest rap stars of today share the stage with the icons of tomorrow.

Also Read: Adult Swim’s ‘Black Jesus’ Sparks $75 Million Lawsuit

  • BLACK GIRLS ROCK! ™ – Featuring emerging and legendary talent, touching tributes to present-day role models and soulful, surprising musical performances, “BLACK GIRLS ROCK!” ™ celebrates the brilliance and beauty of Black women.  This NAACP Image Award-winning special is both timely and timeless, saluting dynamic leaders in entertainment, business, philanthropy, and beyond. Past award winners include film legend Cicely Tyson, music and fashion icon Rihanna, director Ava DuVernay, educator Nadia Lopez, and veteran actor Taraji P. Henson.  Created by executive producer Beverly Bond, “BLACK GIRLS ROCK!” ™ highlights the wide spectrum of talent and contributions of women of color who are shaping our world.

Also Read: Fox News Sued by 2 Black Women Charging ‘Top-Down Racial Harassment’

  • SOUL TRAIN AWARDS – The “SOUL TRAIN AWARDS” brings you the most revered and promising voices in soul and R&B. Simulcast on BET and BET Her, the “Hippest Trip In America” keeps grooving forward. The iconic brand that defined a generation returns with the award show that delivers world class talent and a long tail of social chatter.  Honoring the best in R&B and soul, the “SOUL TRAIN AWARDS” is guaranteed to deliver Love, Peace, and SOUL!

Also Read: Jordan Peele Just Became the First Black Writer-Director With a $100M Movie Debut

  • SOUL TRAIN WEEKEND – “Soul Train Weekend” returns to Las Vegas for an immersive live experience, showcasing the best of African-American culture. This three-day music celebration will celebrate soul and R&B music with special appearances & performances, a celebrity golf tournament, a Grammy Academy panel and more.
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BET has unveiled its new and returning slate for the 2017-2018 TV season, which includes news seasons of “Hit the Floor” (pictured above), “The Breaks” and “The Quad.” Oh yeah, those first two are coming over from fellow Viacom network, VH1.

Additionally, the cable channel has ordered new biopics/miniseries centered on Bobby Brown and Death Row Records, per Thursday’s upfront presentation. BET is also bolstering its comedy and late-night lineup, including new series executive produced by Kevin Hart (“Divorce Saved My Life”), Chris Rock (The Rundown With Robin Thede”), Wanda Sykes (“Face Value”), Steve Harvey (“BET’s Mancave”) and 50 Cent (“50 Central”). And then there’s blind date series “Love Room,” which sees two “sexy strangers” living together for a week. That ought to go completely smooth.

Finally, BET is adding a pair of “Lip Sync Battle” specials to its tentpole event lineup.

In addition to all of this programming BET has joined forces with Twitter to analyze the impact and importance of “Black Twitter.” Per BET’s summation, “Black Twitter” is a “digital water cooler, where African Americans exchange ideas and opinions that are centered on the black experience, all dialogue is unapologetically black and is exclusive to things that impact the black community.”

Here’s what they found: “Early data continues to support a strong correlation between tweeting and watching live TV at home via traditional delivery methods. People on Twitter see TV as a social opportunity and source of information for what’s happening, best enjoyed live and viewed with others on Twitter.”

BET will be creating a model to help predict future trends in “Black Twitter” as they emerge.

“Over the last 37 years, BET has cultivated a deep and lasting relationship with our viewers, as we remain the premiere destination for lovers of African American culture. This year, we are saying yes to all things black, with more premium original programming and best-in-class tentpoles that reflect and invigorate our viewers,” said Debra Lee, chairman and CEO, BET Networks. “BET’s global influence is stronger than ever and we are continuing to expand beyond the television screen to impact our audience — and the world — across multiple platforms.”

Here is BET’s new and returning slate, all in the Viacom cable channel’s own words:

New Comedy and Late-Night Programming

  • DIVORCE SAVED MY MARRIAGE - From Executive Producer Kevin Hart comes “DIVORCE SAVED MY MARRIAGE,” a new 30-minute scripted dramedy, based on the stand up of David A. Arnold, that turns relationships and marriage inside out.  When a couple realizes that divorce is the only thing they can agree on, their attorney recommends a financial plan instead of a court date – forcing them to work together so they can finally afford to be apart.  “DIVORCE SAVED MY MARRIAGE” is executive produced and created by Devon K. Shepard and David A. Arnold, with Kevin Hart and Dave Becky serving as Executive Producers.

FORMAT: 30-minute Scripted Comedy

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 10

  • THE RUNDOWN WITH ROBIN THEDE - BET joins forces with Executive Producer Chris Rock to bring the African American female voice to late night news satire: “THE RUNDOWN WITH ROBIN THEDE.”  Comedian and former head writer and contributor for “The Nightly Show,” Robin Thede, gives her hilariously unique take on the week’s headlines in politics and pop culture in a fast-paced, no-holds-barred late night show featuring biting social commentary, sharp sketch comedy and in-your-face pop culture parody. From the team behind “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” “THE RUNDOWN WITH ROBIN THEDE” is produced by JAX MEDIA with Chris Rock and Robin Thede serving as Executive Producers.  Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns, John Skidmore and Genevieve Anniello also executive produce.

FORMAT: 30-minute Late Night Comedy

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 24

  • BET’s MANCAVE - Executive Producer Steve Harvey and BET are opening the door to “BET’s MANCAVE” – a no-holds-barred conversation among five men brave enough to be honest and vulnerable, as they laugh it up and get serious about hot-button topics. Hosted by award-winning journalist Jeff Johnson – and featuring actors, athletes, and comedians, among others – this topical weekly event series brings together African American men with wildly diverse opinions to dissect current hot topics in entertainment, politics, news and beyond.  Through humor, genuine emotion and heated debate, the panel will discuss their own opinions and experiences, while revealing what it’s really like to navigate the world as an African American man. With unfiltered honesty, “BET’s MANCAVE” is the ultimate ‘bro-out’ session that reflects how complex men’s thoughts actually are.  “BET’s MANCAVE” is created by Jeff Johnson and produced by Truly Original and East 112th Street Productions. Johnson serves as Executive Producer, alongside Truly Original’s Steven Weinstock, Glenda Hersh and Bryan Hale. Steve Harvey and Gerald Washington also serve as Executive Producers for 112th Street Productions.

FORMAT: 30-minute Late Night Comedy

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 12

  • FACE VALUE - From Push It Productions and Executive Producer, Wanda Sykes, “FACE VALUE” is a groundbreaking new game show that will finally answer the age-old question, “Can you judge a book by its cover?”  The veteran actress, comedienne and LGBT advocate knows what it’s like to be prejudged, so this series is flipping the script to award cash and prizes for correctly guessing facts about strangers from all walks of life – based solely on their appearance and a few personal details.  Hosted by Deon Cole (“black-ish,”Barbershop), “FACE VALUE” will humorously break down stereotypes, expose prejudices, and celebrate the human spirit by highlighting the commonalities and differences among people of various backgrounds, races, religions, beliefs and life experiences.  Push It Productions’ Wanda Sykes and Page Hurwitz serve as Executive Producers along with Lance Crouther.

FORMAT: 30-minute Late Night Comedy

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 24

  • 50 CENTRAL - Award-winning rapper, entrepreneur, actor and producer, the iconic Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, storms BET’s airwaves to take variety and sketch comedy to the next level with “50 CENTRAL.” BET’s first variety comedy showcase will be unlike anything seen from the genre before.  Along with unprecedented sketches, there will be hidden camera pranks, musical performances, and A-list celebrity guests to create the ultimate late night party – all handpicked and hosted by 50 Cent.  Few artists have had as much crossover success as Jackson and he showcases his talents as an MC, actor and producer for a fresh take on the variety series.  “50 CENTRAL” is produced by G-Unit Film & Television in partnership with Back Roads Entertainment with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Stephen J. Savva, Colby Gaines and Riley Robbins serving as Executive Producers and Michael A. Blum serving as Co-Executive Producer.

FORMAT: 30-minute Late Night Variety

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 24

  • LOVE ROOM – “LOVE ROOM” is a daring social experiment that brings together individuals who have almost given up on finding a relationship and falling in love.  Much more than a single date, two sexy, single strangers will meet and live together for a week to see if a relationship blossoms.  Having struck out with blind dates and dating apps, the couples will work through challenges that test their resolve and compatibility.  This “full immersion” relationship will accelerate the dating process, challenging the couple to reveal their deepest secrets, face their own insecurities, overcome their fears and set aside their baggage to find true love.  “LOVE ROOM” is produced by Eastern, producers of the hit “Love & Hip Hop” franchise. Toby Barraud, Stefan Springman, Mala Chapple, Carmen Mitcho and Sean David Johnson are Executive Producers for Eastern.

FORMAT: 60-minute Unscripted

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 10

Miniseries

  • THE BOBBY BROWN STORY - From the team behind BET’s smash hit, “The New Edition Story” – the #1 cable biopic of all time – comes another epic mini-series event: “THE BOBBY BROWN STORY.”  With a career that spans from founding the R&B super group New Edition to a successful solo run, Bobby Brown‘s life truly epitomizes the meaning of sex, drugs, and rock & roll.  Hailed as the King of R&B, Bobby Brown is undisputedly one of the genre’s original “bad boys.” His hits may have kept him at the top of the charts, but his antics kept him on the front page. Written by Abdul Williams (“The New Edition Story,” Lottery Ticket), “THE BOBBY BROWN STORY” is executive produced by Jesse Collins (“The New Edition Story,” “Real Husbands of Hollywood”) for JCE Films, a division of Jesse Collins Entertainment.

FORMAT: 4-Hour Biopic Mini-series

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 2 Nights, 2-Hours per Night

  • DEATH ROW CHRONICLES - The story of the world’s most dangerous record label could only be told in a definitive 6-part documentary series: “DEATH ROW CHRONICLES.” While Death Row Records boasted the success of Snoop Dogg, 2Pac, and Dr. Dre forged by unmatched creativity, the chart-topping and record-breaking sales came at a bloody, controversial cost.  Part true-crime murder mystery and part hip hop drama, this compelling docu-series will comb through mountains of misinformation, uncovering key evidence and witnesses who will reveal the truth about the bitter rivalries surrounding its legends.  The limited series will also celebrate the groundbreaking music of Death Row, explain how it reflected society at the time, and how it influenced some of today’s biggest hip hop artists.  On the eve of the label’s 25th anniversary, “DEATH ROW CHRONICLES” offers an unflinching look at the label and its legacy.  “DEATH ROW CHRONICLES” is produced by Entertainment One (eOne) and Creature Films.

FORMAT: 60-minute Documentary Series

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 6

Returning Original Series

  • THE QUAD - As Wednesday’s #1 New Cable Series among African American millennials (AA P18-34), the riveting, true-to-life drama about HBCU culture and relationships is back for another season of passion and controversy. Georgia A&M President Dr. Eva Fletcher continues to navigate her relationships, career and serve the student body. For faculty and students alike, one similarity remains: everyone plans to make a name for themselves on “THE QUAD.”  Starring multi-talented Anika Noni Rose, “THE QUAD” is created and executive produced by Felicia Henderson and Charles Holland, and developed by Rob Hardy who also serves as Executive Producer.  Mitzi Miller serves as Co-Executive Producer.

FORMAT: 60-minute Scripted Drama

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 10

  • THE BREAKS – Shot on the streets of New York, “THE BREAKS” is a gritty, authentic take on the origins of hip hop through the journey of three young friends exploring the industry in 1990 New York City.  “THE BREAKS” is inspired by Dan Charnas’ critically acclaimed book The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop, an epic, 40-year narrative of the executives, entrepreneurs, hustlers and handlers who turned rap music into the world’s predominant pop culture.  Original cast members included:  Afton Willamson (HBO’s “The Night Of…”), Wood Harris (“The Wire”), Mack Wilds (“The Wire”), Antoine Harris (“Ballers”), David Call (“The Magicians”), Evan Handler (“Sex and the City”), Melonie Diaz (“Fruitvale Station”), Sinqua Walls (“Power”), Ali Ahn (“Billions”) and Gloria Reuben (“Mr. Robot”).

FORMAT: 60-minute Drama

  • HIT THE FLOOR - Just when you thought it was over, sizzling new episodes of original series, “HIT THE FLOOR”, are back to steam up TV screens for a brand new season on BET Networks.  The premier professional dance squad for the Los Angeles Devils basketball team, the Devil Girls, returns with more scandal, sex, secrets, intrigue and jaw-dropping dance routines, that captured audience’s hearts.  “HIT THE FLOOR” was created by James LaRosa.

FORMAT: 60-minute Drama

Specials

  • “LIP SYNC BATTLE” SPECIAL EDITIONS - Multiplatform global pop culture juggernaut, “LIP SYNC BATTLE” is blowing up with two 1-hour specials made exclusively for BET.  Featuring the same cast, LL COOL J and Chrissy Teigen, but touting the BET brand, each one hour special will be tailored to a tentpole event – “BET HIP HOP AWARDS” and “SOUL TRAIN AWARDS” – which will drive the songs that the celebrities perform.  The special editions will be taped in September in Los Angeles.  The expansion of “LIP SYNC BATTLE” to BET taps into the overall plan to leverage multiple platforms for Viacom’s most successful properties.

FORMAT: Two 1-hour Specials

NUMBER OF EPISODES: 2 Editions – “BET HIP HOP AWARDS,” “SOUL TRAIN AWARDS”

  • BET AWARDS – Moving into its eighteenth year, The “BET AWARDS” franchise is the #1 program in cable television history among African American viewers, and a top 10 awards show on television among total viewers.  This magical night of musical collaborations and jaw-dropping moments consistently delivers high ratings, millions of social media impressions and buzz before, during and after the star-studded live telecast. Last year was a celebration of Prince and his music featuring Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar, Janelle Monae, and more.  Anything can – and always does – happen at BET’s signature live awards event.

  • BET EXPERIENCE – Returning for its sixth year, BET Experience at L.A. LIVE presented by Coca-Cola® is four-day event showcasing the best in music, comedy, and entertainment. The immersive experience continues to grow each year, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors to the downtown Los Angeles area.  The BET Experience at L.A. LIVE presented by Coca-Cola® includes a series of interactive events such as a free Fan Fest, live music, Sprite Celebrity Basketball Game, and Genius Talks with A-list talent; as well as a partnership between BET Networks and AEG to bring a star-studded electrifying concert series to the L.A. Live complex.

  • BET HIP HOP AWARDS - The “BET HIP HOP AWARDS” returns to highlight the best of the year in hip-hop music, with bold performances and breakthrough freestyle cyphers.  This seminal award show singularly celebrates hip-hop and sets social media on fire with the click of a hashtag, placing it among the most social award shows all year. The “BET HIP HOP AWARDS” is the one show where the hottest rap stars of today share the stage with the icons of tomorrow.

  • BLACK GIRLS ROCK! ™ – Featuring emerging and legendary talent, touching tributes to present-day role models and soulful, surprising musical performances, “BLACK GIRLS ROCK!” ™ celebrates the brilliance and beauty of Black women.  This NAACP Image Award-winning special is both timely and timeless, saluting dynamic leaders in entertainment, business, philanthropy, and beyond. Past award winners include film legend Cicely Tyson, music and fashion icon Rihanna, director Ava DuVernay, educator Nadia Lopez, and veteran actor Taraji P. Henson.  Created by executive producer Beverly Bond, “BLACK GIRLS ROCK!” ™ highlights the wide spectrum of talent and contributions of women of color who are shaping our world.

  • SOUL TRAIN AWARDS - The “SOUL TRAIN AWARDS” brings you the most revered and promising voices in soul and R&B. Simulcast on BET and BET Her, the “Hippest Trip In America” keeps grooving forward. The iconic brand that defined a generation returns with the award show that delivers world class talent and a long tail of social chatter.  Honoring the best in R&B and soul, the “SOUL TRAIN AWARDS” is guaranteed to deliver Love, Peace, and SOUL!

  • SOUL TRAIN WEEKEND – “Soul Train Weekend” returns to Las Vegas for an immersive live experience, showcasing the best of African-American culture. This three-day music celebration will celebrate soul and R&B music with special appearances & performances, a celebrity golf tournament, a Grammy Academy panel and more.
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BET Greenlights New Series From Kevin Hart, Steve Harvey, Wanda Sykes & More – Upfronts

BET Networks has unveiled its 2017-18 programming slate at its annual Upfront presentation in New York. The lineup  includes a new scripted dramedy from Kevin Hart, new late-night comedy shows from Steve Harvey, Wanda Sykes and Chris Rock (previously announced), and a new unscripted relationship series Love Room from the producers of the Love & Hip Hop franchise. BET also greenlighted The Bobby Brown Story miniseries as a follow-up to its hit The New Edition Storyand…

BET Networks has unveiled its 2017-18 programming slate at its annual Upfront presentation in New York. The lineup  includes a new scripted dramedy from Kevin Hart, new late-night comedy shows from Steve Harvey, Wanda Sykes and Chris Rock (previously announced), and a new unscripted relationship series Love Room from the producers of the Love & Hip Hop franchise. BET also greenlighted The Bobby Brown Story miniseries as a follow-up to its hit The New Edition Storyand…

BET Shakeup as Top Executives Exit

BET Programming president Stephen Hill and head of Original Programming Zola Mashariki are leaving the cable channel. The duo is pictured above.

Connie Orlando, senior vice president for Specials, Music Programming, and News, will serve as the interim head of Programming for BET Networks.

“Over the past decade Connie has worked in a variety of roles in the programming department and is a seasoned, talented and well respected industry veteran,” BET Networks chairman and CEO Debra Lee wrote in an internal memo obtained by TheWrap. “We’re thrilled that she will step into this role during this period of transition.”

Also Read: Viacom Boss Bob Bakish Bemoans Paramount Not Having Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’

Hill decided to step down, the Viacom-owned network specified. They did not say the same about Mashariki. TheWrap’s request to BET for more specifics on her departure was not immediately returned.

“Stephen has earned a reputation as one of the leading creative minds in television and music,” Lee said. “His contributions to the team have been invaluable as we worked together to successfully reinvigorate our brand.”

“Most importantly, Stephen has been a trusted colleague and friend to many of us,” she continued. “We are fortunate to have enjoyed his service, creativity and laughter for so many years. I can’t imagine this ride without his energy, passion and love of BET. Thank you Stephen for every awesome and magical moment, I know this won’t be our last dance. I know your dedication to BET will still live on in everyone you’ve touched over the years.

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Here’s Hill’s farewell memo to staff, which we also received:

My first morning at BET was the day after Roger Troutman died. WKYS, WPGC and WHUR were all full with the music of Zapp and as I drove the car (that I still own) down New York Avenue in DC towards the BET Complex, I thought to myself “we’ll need to get the details and some footage quickly so that we can get something on the air today about Roger”. Immediately after orientation, I began searching out the people that could make it possible. But it turns out it was not possible. Due to the shoot schedule for the video shows, the edit time, and the way that Master Control was set up, the quickest anything could be turned around was one week. It was unimaginable to folks there then that BET could react to anything in real time. Crestfallen, I slumped in my way-too-big chair and gazed out at the McDonald’s across the street from my NetOps office; determined that the paradigm shift.

18 months later, we were live daily on BET and would stay that way for the next 14 years. What was previously unimaginable had been made real.

Also Read: Paul Greengrass to Direct Eliot Ness Biopic for Paramount

This Friday, 6,549 days after I took my first step through the doors of BET, I will walk my last one out. It has been my honor to serve this brand in that span and I am thrilled to have been able to be a member of the teams that ideated and created so many spectacles, moments, memories and miracles. It’s been fulfilling to be part of huge changes that literally shifted culture.

As we go forward, I’m excited by all of our immediate and long term upcoming trajectories.

For you and BET, it’s the opportunities you will mine through your new designation: VIACOM made a wise choice making BET a “Flagship” brand. It’s been proven over and over again that viewers want BET to win and that they believe highly in your ability to do so. We saw that recently with the culture shifting New Edition Story when, with one series, pundits and social media were ablaze proclaiming BET as the best TV producers of biopics. Full Stop. Huh? “Best” after one attempt? Yes. That’s the feeling. That’s the energy of an audience rooting for you. That’s a populace hot for you. Your audience knows that other channels have to study the culture, but BET is the culture…and they respect the difference. I truly wish you the fuel of innovation, execution and support to feed those fire-flames. There is an abundance of talent at BET Networks; each person a spark that can start the blaze of the next success; to again take what is currently unimaginable and set on a path to make it real. It has been my immeasurable joy to work alongside you.

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As for me, since I was 16, I haven’t had many workdays of not getting up, getting into it and getting involved. ‘Tis a truly foreign concept. I talk about “time”…well, all of the time ( at least twice a year on email); about its value and to consider how you use time…as a friend or a foe. Right now, I’m choosing friend. I’ma throw my arms around it like I would a long lost buddy and enjoy a bit of what it might offer. I am truly looking forward to some time to just be. There’s much in this world I haven’t experienced that I soon will.

And then, I’ll re-approach the side of the action, sway to and fro while catching the rhythm and jump back into the fast-paced double-dutch of life. However, these same feet that will one day return to churning in time with the ropes will now, for a few moments, have their individual digits sifting sand…not unlike another former President. Check the IG in a little while. Previously unimaginable. About to be wonderfully real.

Thank you Debra Lee for pretty much everything since the day you saw me in the red pants. Your leadership, tenacity, dedication…and style…are appreciated. Your investment in me and support of me from the very beginning has been strong and constant. I treasure it and will pay it forward.

Also Read: Michael De Luca Turns Down Paramount Job

I will miss you all. I will miss this. I will miss us. But I am so excited to see where you next take this powerful, agile, thrusting spacecraft of a brand.

Imagine it and drive well.

sgh

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BET Programming president Stephen Hill and head of Original Programming Zola Mashariki are leaving the cable channel. The duo is pictured above.

Connie Orlando, senior vice president for Specials, Music Programming, and News, will serve as the interim head of Programming for BET Networks.

“Over the past decade Connie has worked in a variety of roles in the programming department and is a seasoned, talented and well respected industry veteran,” BET Networks chairman and CEO Debra Lee wrote in an internal memo obtained by TheWrap. “We’re thrilled that she will step into this role during this period of transition.”

Hill decided to step down, the Viacom-owned network specified. They did not say the same about Mashariki. TheWrap’s request to BET for more specifics on her departure was not immediately returned.

“Stephen has earned a reputation as one of the leading creative minds in television and music,” Lee said. “His contributions to the team have been invaluable as we worked together to successfully reinvigorate our brand.”

“Most importantly, Stephen has been a trusted colleague and friend to many of us,” she continued. “We are fortunate to have enjoyed his service, creativity and laughter for so many years. I can’t imagine this ride without his energy, passion and love of BET. Thank you Stephen for every awesome and magical moment, I know this won’t be our last dance. I know your dedication to BET will still live on in everyone you’ve touched over the years.

Here’s Hill’s farewell memo to staff, which we also received:

My first morning at BET was the day after Roger Troutman died. WKYS, WPGC and WHUR were all full with the music of Zapp and as I drove the car (that I still own) down New York Avenue in DC towards the BET Complex, I thought to myself “we’ll need to get the details and some footage quickly so that we can get something on the air today about Roger”. Immediately after orientation, I began searching out the people that could make it possible. But it turns out it was not possible. Due to the shoot schedule for the video shows, the edit time, and the way that Master Control was set up, the quickest anything could be turned around was one week. It was unimaginable to folks there then that BET could react to anything in real time. Crestfallen, I slumped in my way-too-big chair and gazed out at the McDonald’s across the street from my NetOps office; determined that the paradigm shift.

18 months later, we were live daily on BET and would stay that way for the next 14 years. What was previously unimaginable had been made real.

This Friday, 6,549 days after I took my first step through the doors of BET, I will walk my last one out. It has been my honor to serve this brand in that span and I am thrilled to have been able to be a member of the teams that ideated and created so many spectacles, moments, memories and miracles. It’s been fulfilling to be part of huge changes that literally shifted culture.

As we go forward, I’m excited by all of our immediate and long term upcoming trajectories.

For you and BET, it’s the opportunities you will mine through your new designation: VIACOM made a wise choice making BET a “Flagship” brand. It’s been proven over and over again that viewers want BET to win and that they believe highly in your ability to do so. We saw that recently with the culture shifting New Edition Story when, with one series, pundits and social media were ablaze proclaiming BET as the best TV producers of biopics. Full Stop. Huh? “Best” after one attempt? Yes. That’s the feeling. That’s the energy of an audience rooting for you. That’s a populace hot for you. Your audience knows that other channels have to study the culture, but BET is the culture…and they respect the difference. I truly wish you the fuel of innovation, execution and support to feed those fire-flames. There is an abundance of talent at BET Networks; each person a spark that can start the blaze of the next success; to again take what is currently unimaginable and set on a path to make it real. It has been my immeasurable joy to work alongside you.

As for me, since I was 16, I haven’t had many workdays of not getting up, getting into it and getting involved. ‘Tis a truly foreign concept. I talk about “time”…well, all of the time ( at least twice a year on email); about its value and to consider how you use time…as a friend or a foe. Right now, I’m choosing friend. I’ma throw my arms around it like I would a long lost buddy and enjoy a bit of what it might offer. I am truly looking forward to some time to just be. There’s much in this world I haven’t experienced that I soon will.

And then, I’ll re-approach the side of the action, sway to and fro while catching the rhythm and jump back into the fast-paced double-dutch of life. However, these same feet that will one day return to churning in time with the ropes will now, for a few moments, have their individual digits sifting sand…not unlike another former President. Check the IG in a little while. Previously unimaginable. About to be wonderfully real.

Thank you Debra Lee for pretty much everything since the day you saw me in the red pants. Your leadership, tenacity, dedication…and style…are appreciated. Your investment in me and support of me from the very beginning has been strong and constant. I treasure it and will pay it forward.

I will miss you all. I will miss this. I will miss us. But I am so excited to see where you next take this powerful, agile, thrusting spacecraft of a brand.

Imagine it and drive well.

sgh

Related stories from TheWrap:

Fox, Turner and Viacom Team Up on New Audience Measurement Platform

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'Terminator' Sequel Bumped Off Paramount Release Schedule

Jim Gianopulos Named Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures